The Grove City Christian School girls track and field team is expected to be led by a pair of athletes who have aspirations of returning to the Division III state meet.

Senior Calista Manns and junior Morgan Iverson both represented the Eagles at state last season.

Manns, who specializes in the hurdles and 100 meters, is hoping to compete in her fourth state meet. She finished second last season in the 100 hurdles, bettering her program record with an effort of 14.13 seconds, and also was ninth in the 100 (12.57) and 15th in the 300 hurdles (47.42).

"Calista is ready and determined to win (a state title)," said coach Mindy Bankey, who is in her third season. "She has worked hard and is ready to take the No. 1 spot in the hurdles. She is hungry."

As a sophomore, Manns finished seventh in the 100 (12.72) and 300 hurdles (46.12). As a freshman, she was fifth in the 100 hurdles (15.37).

Iverson is looking to compete in her third state meet in the pole vault. Last season, she finished seventh while establishing a program record of 10 feet, 6 inches. As a freshman, she did not clear the opening of height of 9-6 on all three attempts.

"This is my favorite time of the year," Iverson said. "I'm proud of it and happy with how I did (last year at state) and the progress I've made since then. I'm just excited to build off that and go further."

Also back are juniors Natalie Bankey (hurdles, sprints) and Olivia Ellis (sprints, middle distance) and sophomores Abigail McDonald (throws) and Brooke O'Dell (middle distance).

Also looking to contribute are junior Sydney King (distance), sophomore Taylor Rice (middle distance) and freshmen Sophia Baugess (throws), Kaitlynn Gibson (sprints, hurdles), Alayna Riggs (sprints), Bryanna Trout (sprints, middle distance), Christina Vargas (middle distance) and Wylee Whittredge (distance).

"There's definitely some promise this year," Iverson said. "We have some promising freshmen. I'm very excited to see what they can do for our relay teams. We definitely want to show up at the league meet (and) go for that league championship. Right now, it's building that team chemistry and really growing closer, relying on one another and supporting one another because that's what being on a team is all about."

The Eagles opened April 6 by finishing sixth (44) in the 11-team Zuber Relays behind champion and host Liberty Union (96.5).

"We (were) extremely excited for the season to start," coach Bankey said. "We have a number of awesome athletes and we are young."

Three seniors expected to lead boys track team

The boys track team expects to receive strong performances from seniors Zion-Christopher Jackson (sprints), Brandon Rex (sprints) and Jacob Stoneking (throws, sprints).

"We are excited to see Brandon, Zion and Jacob run," coach Bankey said. "These seniors are excited and are looking forward to a great season and setting the bar high."

Rex is hoping to earn his first state berth. He believes his best chance will be in the 100 or 400 relay.

"I just want to win," he said. "After being an underclassman, you want to be on top as a senior, be top dog."

Rex credits coach Bankey for his progress.

"She's been awesome," Rex said. "She got me exposed to Capital University to run, where I've verbally committed. She's been a great help with practices, keeping everyone focused and under control and wanting us all to succeed."

Also back is junior Atticus Fouts, who competes in the throws.

Other athletes are senior Andrew Gillespie (middle distance), juniors Christian Emlich (sprints, 400) and Carter Stedtefeld (throws) and freshmen Zachary Bonner (sprints, jumps), Andrew Chalupa (distance, middle distance), Jonathan Flush (400, throws), Dylan King (distance) and Jaylin Walker (sprints, jumps).

"This is going to be an exciting season," coach Bankey said. "We hope to soar on all levels."

The Eagles finished eighth (17) in the 12-team Zuber Relays behind champion and host Liberty Union (97).

Baseball team out to 'up-and-down' start

Baseball coach A.J. McCampbell is looking for more consistency from his team.

The Eagles were 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the MSL-Cardinal Division before playing Harvest Prep on April 8.

Grove City Christian defeated Wellington 13-5 on April 1 and lost to Fairfield Christian 5-2 on April 2 and Berne Union 10-0 in six innings April 5 in league play.

"We have been up and down," McCampbell said. "We are doing a lot of things well like fielding and pitching. The thing we are struggling with, though, is run production. We are doing a great job of getting people on base, but struggling to get people across the plate and that will be something that costs us games if we can't correct that issue.

"We are also putting too many people on base. When we throw strikes and attack the zone, we will be in every game we play, but if we don't we threaten to walk ourselves out of a game."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Grove City Christian baseball, softball and track & field teams:

BASEBALL

*April 11 -- Home vs. Fisher Catholic

*April 12 -- At Millersport

*April 15 -- At Zanesville Rosecrans

*April 16 -- Home vs. Wellington

SOFTBALL

*April 11 -- Home vs. Fisher Catholic

*April 12 -- At Millersport

April 13 -- Home vs. Madison Christian (DH)

April 15 -- At Cristo Rey

*April 16 -- Home vs. Wellington

TRACK & FIELD

April 11 -- At Cardington

April 16 -- At Watkins Memorial with Liberty Christian and Newark

*League contest